Perfect purrs and furry wake up calls
Unlike most people who get woken in the morning by an alarm clock I usually get woken by my furry ginger wake up call, otherwise known as Flapjack! He’s a funny cat, very possessive, often sleeping on the bed with us all night long (and if he’s not sleeping on us he’s at the foot of the bed leaning against legs, back, bum and licking loudly or nibbling toes!). His favourite trick is to stand on your chest purring loudly until you open your eyes and stroke him, actually a pretty effective way to wake your owners up (suffocate and deafen them at the same time!) and cannily similar to my favourite Simon’s Cat anecdote (below).
It got me thinking about a cat’s purr, it’s a very satisfying sound. Thought to be an involuntary way of a cat expressing its comfort, pleasure or friendship to a cat lover like myself there is no greater reassurance that your cat is happy and feels safe. I don’t believe in the saying that you are either a cat or a dog person as I love all animals but I feel like I just “get” cats a little more. Yes they bring me dead (or sometime half alive) animals, they climb on surfaces, get in my way on the stairs and throw up all over my (now well stained) carpet but they are never lacking in the affection they give me back. If I leave a room they will follow me, if I’m lonely or sad they seek me out and stay by my side for hours at a time. They are just as much part of my family as anyone else and I genuinely look forward to seeing them each day, rushing home from work to find Mischief waiting on the windowsill for me, waiting to give me a welcome cuddle whilst Flapjack emerges bleary eyed from my bedroom and rushes down the stairs to nuzzle around my feet and demand “tummy time”.
I’ve know cat’s who for whatever reason don’t purr. We have a frequent visiting stray neighbourhood male tabby cat (rather unimaginatively nicknamed Tabby in our house) that will come in, eat whatever food is down in the kitchen, sleep in our lounge overnight and then run off as soon as we try to stroke him or make contact. We’ve managed to build some trust and achieve a quick rub of his ears or have him stick around if we’re in the room now but not once have I heard him purr and this makes me feel quite sad. I feel it is every cat’s right to be safe, healthy and loved and poor Tabby’s trust in humans seems to have long since departed. I long to hear him purr because at least then I would know that he is in some way happy but unfortunately I’m not sure he even remembers how to.
It’s amazing how such a small sound can represent so much about the relationship between a cat and a human, there are no games with cats, they will always let you know where you stand with them. I want all cats to feel loved and that’s why I always stop and stroke a cat on the street, make a beeline for cats at pubs or friend’s houses and will fight for a world of safe and happy cats where every cat wants to purr to its heart’s content 🙂